Exclusive interview with the CEO of GOJO, parent company of PURELL!!

As an executive, board member, and investor, Carey Jaros has worked on and in over 50 organizations— from established public and private companies, to startups and nonprofits. Carey is a Board Member of ACRT Services, a utility services ESOP in Northeast Ohio. She is on the Advisory Board of WISR, an EdTech startup, and is a Techstars Mentor to venture-backed menstrual products startup Aunt Flow. She also serves as a Trustee of the Kelvin and Eleanor Smith Foundation, and a Trustee and the Treasurer of Laurel School in Shaker Heights, Ohio. Carey received her AB in Public Policy from Brown University, and an MBA at Harvard Business School.


On Thursday, May 28 our CEO, Claire Coder, interviewed Carey and asked her about her experience being a CEO during a pandemic as well as misconceptions about PURELL®. The video of this interview has been edited and posted online on Claire’s Linkedin page. Below is a transcription of the interview. 

 

[CLAIRE] Hello! I am so excited for today's Clarifications guest, Carey Jaros, the CEO of GOJO, the company that makes PURELL®. Her job was already pretty intense but as you know, a lot has happened in the world since the time that Carey and I had the opportunity to sit down and chat. Just this week GOJO announced plans to open a new manufacturing plant in Maple Heights, Ohio. This is incredible news for the Northeast Ohio region. Equally inspiring that GOJO made a public commitment to local and diverse hiring. They are cultivating a stronger inclusion and diversity efforts throughout the entire family enterprise. Really looking forward to this and here is Clarifications.

 

[INTRO] - CLARIFICATIONS WITH CLAIRE CODER, SOCIAL ENTREPRENEUR - FORBES 30 UNDER 30 - CHANGE MAKER

 

[CLAIRE] Carey welcome to Clarifications. I'm so excited to have you. 

 

[CAREY] I'm so excited to be here Claire.

 

[CLAIRE] And I know you're busy because you are the president and CEO of GOJO inventors of  PURELL®. I have my little bottle right here. And so I want to understand, everybody's facing challenges right now. Your challenges are probably a little bit unique compared to the challenges I'm facing or other businesses are facing. What are your biggest challenges right now?

 

[CAREY] The challenge we're facing right now is we just can't make enough. In any other time in business that would seem like a great challenge, to have demand really outstrip your supply but at this moment given the reasons why demand is outstripping supply and given our GOJO Purpose which is saving lives and making life better, we are desperately, desperately committed to getting our capacity up so that we can meet the tremendous demand that's out there. And that creates all kinds of challenges. I think we're rising to them. But boy, is it a busy time. 

 

[CLAIRE]Yeah, I'm sure you had to create some unique solutions to respond to the demand.

 

[CAREY] Absolutely. So, you know, we have longer-term plans to really expand our production capacity dramatically, but in the near term, we had to really get creative. So, one of the creative things we've done is we've partnered with all kinds of companies to get access to bottles and to pumps and to caps because those have been a real limiter for us. You'll hear more about them in the news as we start to talk about some of these partnerships. Some of them are other companies who have really similar alignment around our Purpose of saving lives and making life better and they've been really excited to jump on board and help us so that we can get more sanitizer out there. 

 

[CLAIRE] Carey. What is it like to be the CEO during a pandemic?

 

[CAREY] I just got off a call with one of my team members and he was talking about the need for leadership in moments like this to really be player coaches. And so what I would say is it's not unlike any other day and that I get up and my job is to help my team members be effective and successful. The stakes are really high right now. So that just means I have to do it better for them and with them. 

 

[CLAIRE] And you're keeping your yoga practice even through all of this wildness?

 

[CAREY] Yeah, absolutely. So I'm a dedicated Yogi. I actually am a yoga teacher and I've doubled down on my yoga, so I'm not doing more of it, but I'm doing a really intense style called Ashtanga. I’ve been practicing through Zoom with other Ashtangis so we all do our own practice, but we do it in community at 5 a.m. And it's been an incredible tool for me to keep myself at my best so that I can be there for my team, for our customers and for the public. 

 

[CLAIRE] Now, Carey. This is my favorite part of the interview. There's a lot of misconceptions in the industry right now, especially about  PURELL®. So can you CLARIFY “clarify” a few things about  PURELL®.

 

[CAREY] So I think probably one of the biggest myths about PURELL®  is that we’re part of a big consumer products company like Procter & Gamble. Nope, that's not true. So behind me you see the Akron skyline. We are located in Akron, Ohio and we have plants all over in Northeast, Ohio and we are a third-generation family enterprise called GOJO Industries who make PURELL®. We invented Purell in the late 80s and we still make it here in Northeast, Ohio today. 

 

[CLAIRE] I used to think that  PURELL® was just like something that I bought at the grocery store. Is that your biggest set your biggest industry?

 

[CAREY] So I think that's another really common myth. We actually sell much much much more PURELL® to businesses and hospitals and schools than we do to individual people. 

 

[CLAIRE] Well, Carey. I know that you have lives to save. Thank you so much for Clarifying a few things with us keep rocking and rolling.

 

By: Ally Williams